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01 July, 2017


Bob and Jane Thede epitomize serendipity. 
(With thanks to the Saugeen times)

Okay kids...Do you want to read another nice Canada Day story?

Well, here it is...

Sometimes, it seems as though two worlds are meant to come together and such was the case with Bob Thede of Port Elgin and Jane Mara Bernardi of Brazil.

Bob was born and raised in Bruce County as were several generations of the Thede family.  Jane was born in Brazil of Italian ancestry.  Their story, however, only begins in 2006 when Jane was traveling through Europe with her daughter. On their last night in Venice, her daughter went out with friends while mom went to the hotel dining room on her own.

With fate in the making, Bob had just arrived at the hotel that day.

Sitting alone at the table in the dining room, Jane and a "gentleman" made eye contact and, after determining that she was in fact alone, Bob made his way over her table and asked if he could join her.

"I thought he was American and he thought I was French," says Jane, "but I said yes he could join me. We talked for hours and found we actually had much in common and agreed to exchange email addresses."

The next day, Jane and her daughter continued their travels.  Jane and Bob however, continued their conversations through emails.

After returning to Brazil and having continued their electronic correspondence, Jane received an email one day from Bob asking if he could come visit her. "Oh my," she thought. "Now what do i do?" Her son advised her to say 'yes' and that, if it did not work out, she could simply end any correspondence.

One thing lead to another and the couple ended up dating for three years, back and forth between Brazil and Canada, until a decision had to be made.  After the three years of back and forth Jane, with a law degree and assistant to the Brazilian President of the Court system, decided to give up her career and follow her heart with a Canadian.

In 2009, the couple married and Jane applied for permanent residency in Canada. Unknown to many are the restrictions around receiving Canadian citizenship.  Foreign applicants must remain in the country for 1,460 days or four years consecutively. Any travel days outside of the country are then deducted from the total, which extends the qualifying time.

Therefore, because Jane traveled back to Brazil to spend time with her son and his family each year, the days deducted meant that her qualification time, even though married to a Canadian, added up to eight years.  During that time, she had to study and test in English, history and geography of Canada and prepare and submit many documents.

After the waiting period, Jane applied for her citizenship in 2016 and, after much anxiety, learned that her application had been accepted.  It was not only accepted but she was to be one of those receiving their citizenship papers on July 1st, Canada Day and on Canada Day's 150th anniversary Celebration of Confederation.  "What could possibly be better than getting my Canadian citizenship on this special day," Jane asks.

As you are reading this piece, Jane will have already received her Canadian Citizenship in a colorful ceremony at Etobicoke.

Today, incidentally, she is an active member of the Chantry Island Cham-bettes, a fundraising group of women in Saugeen Shores and, since they are both retired, she and husband Bob continue their world travels -- together.

Good for them!  

Stories like this make me feel good about life in general.  How about you?

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